FIU to probe businesses inflating prices for USD bank transfers

28 May, 2023 - 00:05 0 Views
FIU to probe businesses inflating prices for USD bank transfers

Judith Phiri , Business Reporter

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has said it will investigate unethical behaviour exhibited by various businesses after it emerged that they are forcing customers to pay in hard cash by inflating prices for bank transfers even in forex.

A snap survey carried out by Sunday News revealed that most businesses were opting for hard cash payments resulting in them overpricing and charging exorbitantly for bank transfers. Sunday News identified a number of companies and service providers that have two different prices on a single product when charged in US dollars.

USDs

A quotation obtained from one shop showed that a product costing US$1 800 was billed US$4 000 when a customer wanted to do a bank transfer. In an interview, FIU director-general Mr Oliver Chiperesa said such practices by the companies were illegal.

“That practice is illegal. Thank you for bringing this particular company to our attention. We are going to send our team there and if it is confirmed, we will take immediate action which includes penalising the company.

We will also be interested in checking if there are other traders doing the same so that we nip the malpractice in the bud. We would encourage members of the public to report such business malpractices on the FIU WhatsApp hotline numbers 0714039897 or 0780434475,” said Mr Chiperesa.
Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) chairman Dr Mthokozisi Nkosi said it was highly unethical for businesses to increase prices willy-nilly.

“The US dollar prices are generally stable and consumers should not be punished for choosing to pay through Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS). The applicable bank rate should be used in all transactions. Service providers can lobby monetary authorities through their sectoral associations for more foreign currency allocations should they feel they need more,” said Dr Nkosi.

 

This comes at a time there is a widespread consumer outcry over the recent spate of  speculative price increases, which are being driven by wild parallel market rates. The prevailing exchange instability has prompted the Government to adopt a raft of interventions geared at stabilising the economy by consolidating the fiscal and monetary policy gains achieved so far under the Second Republic.

Recently the RBZ Governor, Dr John Mangudya said the market should expect significant restoration of stability in the pricing of basic goods in response to comprehensive Government measures while disciplinary action will be swiftly meted out against businesses that fuel exchange volatility by dipping their hands in the parallel market.

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